For the real and vital communion between souls is invisible and spiritual – so deeply buried we can think of it as existing unbroken between the changeful surface of daily life.
Evelyn Underhill, 1875 -1941
Evelyn Underhill was a Christian mystic and pacifist who wrote beautifully of the human need for a spiritual life. She understood this to have two key parts: the private, inner relationship with God and the desire for collective, social worship.
Talk of loving the Transcendent can of course sound high-minded and abstract but Underhill was concerned with practical living: her own faith was anchored in everyday life.
Her work is marked by compassion, good sense and a kind of realism. She was deeply thoughtful and had a committed and rich prayer life but there is no snobbery in her writing. French Catholicism influenced her way of thinking about God but her starting point was experience and spiritual intuition.
A high tide is the metaphor Evelyn Underhill uses for the change that collective worship can bring about in our souls. She says shared acts of thanksgiving and joy can bring perspective to our individual concerns and encourage us to acts of compassion. In worship she says we can be ‘Eternalised.’